Battered Fiji braces for fresh disaster with arrival of Cyclone Zena

Nationwide curfew in place as island nation prepares for second cyclone in three months to hit

Fiji is preparing for the arrival of Cyclone Zena, just weeks after the most powerful storm in the Pacific nation’s history laid waste to large swaths of land and left 42 people dead.

On Wednesday, the government imposed a nationwide curfew from 6pm, ordering all residents to remain indoors until the threat from the category three tropical storm had passed.

Category five Cyclone Winston, one of the most powerful storms recorded in the southern hemisphere, killed 42 people and flattened settlements when it struck in February. Prime minister Frank Bainimarama said it could take years for Fiji to recover.

With widespread damage to homes across Fiji, many people have returned to shelters used when Cyclone Winston hit. Nearly 80 evacuation centres have been opened with 3,592 people taking shelter there, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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“We have pretty significant concerns of public health outbreaks,” Alice Clements, Fiji representative at the UN Children’s Agency, Unicef, said.

“In times of flooding there is an increase in water borne diseases such as diarrhoea, eye inflections and the spread of mosquito diseases such as dengue fever and the Zika virus.”

Source: The Guardian. Date: 6 April, 2016